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Comment: Re:The real crime here (Score 1) 403

by JesseMcDonald (#47732907) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

I don't think anyone here disagrees that what he did was wrong and he should be punished...

For what this person is accused of (distributing information contrary to censorship laws), even fines and community service would be disproportionately severe. Social responses are fine, up to and including complete ostracism—people have the right to do that anyway without any special justification. He can be barred from the theater, or even all theaters, if they so choose; if he agreed to a deposit or performance bond in exchange for his ticket then that would obviously be forfeit. However, as he has infringed on no one else's legitimate property rights, his own remain inviolate.

The proportional response for a deliberate violation of anothers' rights is that you lose any claim to those specific rights. The murderer forfeits his own right to life; the thief cannot complain when others take "his" property. The proportionate response to copyright infringement is merely that the offender can no longer claim copyright. But unlike self-ownership, and to a lesser extent property rights, copyright is asymmetric, favoring some and harming others. For most, giving up any claim to it is a reasonable price for not being subject to others' claims.

Comment: Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (Score 1) 235

by JesseMcDonald (#47730931) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

I happen to think a notability test is a good idea, but not after one or more contributors have put significant effort into the page. The test should come when the page is first created; whoever thinks the page is notable should justify it (with references) subject to a general review. Once a topic has been accepted as notable, the contents and history of the page should remain online and open to the public indefinitely.

Comment: Re:That's it? (Score 1) 537

by JesseMcDonald (#47721707) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

While I agree that it's technically possible to prevent ad-blocking, it's not at all practical. With a few very rare exceptions, all the site stands to save by going to such lengths is the trivial cost of the network traffic. DRM isn't going to convert a significant number of ad-blocking casual visitors to paying customers, and the cost of implementing the system, not to mention loss of otherwise paying customers inconvenienced by the DRM, and even free word-of-mouth advertising from non-paying visitors, would be well in excess of any potential benefit.

Moreover, the users who block ads aren't really the ones you want to advertise to anyway. They're certainly not going to click on the ads and are less likely to be favorably influenced. I, for one, tend to keep track of the more obnoxious advertisers just so that I can be sure to avoid their products, so getting through the blocks will tend to hurt a brand more than it helps. Even if there was a foolproof way of ensuring that visitors see your ads, I suspect that over the long term it would only dilute the value of each ad rather than bringing in extra net income.

Going back to the article, they measured the cost of advertising by businesses in the U.K., but did they happen to check how much of that advertising was actually directed at U.K. residents?

Comment: Re:That is the law... (Score 1) 473

by JesseMcDonald (#47707479) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

The point of that section is that you sometimes need to drive slower than the posted speed limit. There is no exception in the law for going faster to keep up with traffic. In any case, the Driver's Handbook is not authoritative; it's merely a guide, not the law itself. The law says that drivers shall not exceed the speed limits:

22348. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 22351, a person shall not drive a vehicle upon a highway with a speed limit established pursuant to Section 22349 or 22356 at a speed greater than that speed limit.

Comment: Re:Who pays the ticket? (Score 2) 473

by JesseMcDonald (#47707429) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

The driver's handbook in California explicitly states that you should at all times keep up with traffic, even if it means exceeding the speed limit a little bit, so that all cars are driving at roughly the same speed.

Got a citation for that? I just checked the California driver's handbook, and it said no such thing. (The relevant sections are Speed Limits and Traffic Speeds.) The handbook did warn against driving slower than other traffic, but that doesn't imply that there is an exception. The handbook only recommends keeping to the right-hand lane to allow faster traffic to pass, not exceeding the posted speed limit.

Note that the Driver's Handbook is not authoritative. The actual laws relating to speed limits can be found here. Again, no exceptions for keeping up with traffic:

22348. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 22351, a person shall not drive a vehicle upon a highway with a speed limit established pursuant to Section 22349 or 22356 at a speed greater than that speed limit.

Comment: Re:As long as... (Score 1) 376

by JesseMcDonald (#47704703) Attached to: Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

Whether one believes that anyone should or should not have such exclusivity is entirely moot...

On the contrary, that is the entire point. If they don't have a natural right to exclusivity then their rights have not been infringed and no crime has occurred. Punishing someone for an action which did not violate anyone's natural rights, on the other hand, would be a crime.

Exclusivity isn't a natural right; it's a side-effect of scarcity. Demanding exclusivity where there is no natural scarcity makes a mockery of property rights.

Comment: Re: The problem with the all robotic workforce ide (Score 1) 304

Hoover hired Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, who believed in the "leave it alone" approach. Hoover may have had the sense not to follow that advice, but hiring Mellon indicates Hoover's underlying philosophy.

Nonsense. What Hoover actually did while on office indicates his "underlying philosophy", which was far from "leave it alone". In any case, regardless of any philosophy, the fact is that he intervened to an unprecedented extent, with predictable results.

You said that Hoover "let the free market work on its own". Hiring someone who believed in that approach and then proceeding to ignore their advice does not constitute letting the market work on its own.

There are varying accounts regarding the Panic of 1837. Quoting Wikipedia:

Most economists also agree that there was a brief recovery from 1838 to 1839, which then ended as the Bank of England and Dutch creditors raised interest rates. However, economic historian Peter Temin has argued that, when corrected for deflation, the economy actually grew after 1838. According to economist and historian Murray Rothbard, between 1839 and 1843, real consumption increased by 21 percent and real gross national product increased by 16 percent, despite the fact that real investment fell by 23 percent and the money supply shrank by 34 percent.

So van Buren wasn't re-elected, but that may simply be due to unfair perceptions and public sentiment in spite of the recovering economy, rather than any real problem with his policies. In any case it didn't turn out like the Great Depression, where the economic downturn dragged on for over a decade.

The free market improves the welfare of a few.

History says otherwise. The free market improves the welfare of the vast majority. A few benefit more than average, and a few benefit less, but the effect on the median is positive.

Without the market most of the people alive today would be dead of starvation, with the remaining few engaged in subsistence farming. The only people who aren't better off are those very few incapable of participating, in general due to a severe physical or mental handicap. Even those considered very poor are better off with the market than they would be without it.

Government ... can use fiscal policy to bypass central planners

Fiscal policy is central planning. It amounts to price controls on money, which have far-reaching effects throughout the economy.

Comment: Re:Because "How dare he" (Score 1) 417

by JesseMcDonald (#47681309) Attached to: Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

That is what "Violence in the name of self-defense" is. "My violence is necessary because there is violence (elsewhere)!"

It sounds like you're arguing for the pacifist position. While I would agree that there is never any good reason to start a war, nor to escalate one, I have to say that simply laying down and dying on cue when an enemy attacks is not a particularly attractive option, nor one I feel anyone is obligated to accept. As a universal principle it would inevitably be self-defeating, as the more ethical side would always be wiped out, leaving those inclined toward war to dominate by default.

It may take two sides to fight a war, but it only takes one side to start it. The victim of an attack has a right to proportional self-defense. I moreover have no objection to others voluntarily choosing to aid in that defense. The key point is to consciously limit yourself to just stopping the attack, as decisively as possible but with a minimum of collateral damage, without becoming the very thing you're fighting against.

Comment: Re:I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords... (Score 1) 304

just give everybody enough money to buy basic food and housing and be done with it

The question no one seems able to answer is this: how do you "give everybody enough money to buy basic food and housing" when no one is producing food or housing for sale? Coming up with extra money is trivial; getting goods onto shelves so people can spend that money on things they need is the hard part, particularly if you don't intend to resort to forced labor.

I have no doubt that people will find ways to occupy themselves and perhaps earn some extra spending money for luxuries, but there are plenty of hard, dirty, unpleasant jobs that no one would choose to do if their basic needs were already met for free, and they can't all be automated with near-term levels of technology. I foresee a glut of artists and entertainers, and precious few farmers, janitors, and sanitation engineers.

Comment: Re: The problem with the all robotic workforce ide (Score 1) 304

Hoover after the 1929 crash let the free market work on its own. After 3 years of worsening depression, the people wanted a New Deal.

Between increased inflation, new public works projects, the Federal Farm Board, immigration restrictions, tax increases, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Bacon-Davis Act, the Home Loan Bank System, pressure enacted on the NYSE to block short selling, and various other examples of interference from 1929 to 1932, I don't see how you can possibly say that Hoover "let the free market work on its own". In hindsight the New Deal was really Hoover's creation, not Roosevelt's.

Laisse-faire had been the policy prior to 1929. It's no accident that 1929 is remembered as the start of "The Great Depression", in contrast to previous events such as the depression of 1819, the Panic of 1837, and the depression of 1920-1921. The Great Depression is the first case where the federal government tried to end a depression by decree and regulation and public spending rather than taking the hands-off approach. The result was a disaster, from which they seem to have learned very little.

America's Great Depression

The free market is the problem. It does not care about the General Welfare. The market is quite happy to let poor people suffer. Government is mandated to provide for the vulnerable.

The free market may not operate under a mandate, but it has the effect of improving the general welfare. Government, by contrast, has the mandate, but is incapable of carrying it out. Interference by central planners just makes matters worse. This is a case where principles and pragmatism are in perfect alignment.

Comment: Re:Because "How dare he" (Score 2) 417

by JesseMcDonald (#47680469) Attached to: Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

War should be our last option after all other options are exhausted.

There is a big difference between "war should be considered as a last resort to get our way" and "war shouldn't be considered at all except as a way to prevent something even worse" (where the list of things considered "worse than war" is extremely short). Whether war is justified at all is a more important issue than where it ranks on a list of options, though I do agree that other options should always come first.

Comment: Re:Just as much as you asked for News for nerds (Score 1) 131

by JesseMcDonald (#47678731) Attached to: The Man Responsible For Pop-Up Ads On Building a Better Web

You knew that at Slashdot.org, you'd find "news for nerds". You intentionally loaded Slashdot to get what is on Slashdot (news, discussion).
You knew that at Slashdot.org, you'd find ads. You intentionally loaded Slashdot to get what is on Slashdot (ads).

While you did know that you'd find ads, that doesn't imply that you "intentionally loaded Slashdot to get ... ads". You just wanted the news & discussion; the ads are an unwanted side effect, impurities in the data stream. You agreed to accept whatever the site sends you in response to your request, but that doesn't imply you have to display it, run embedded code, or follow the links. A good web-browser with plugins like Ad Block will help to refine the signal from the noise, simultaneously improving both load times and security.

Comment: Re:Stop doing CIDR! (Score 1) 247

by JesseMcDonald (#47666549) Attached to: The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

That said, how is any network of any size supposed to protect itself again ISP outages other than multihoming?

The logical place to deal with this issue would be higher up in the stack, like with SCTP's multihoming support. Rather than advertising multiple routes to the same IP address, you let the other endpoint know that you can be reached at multiple IP addresses. If one ISP has an outage, you transparently switch the traffic over to another address.

Unfortunately, this requires updating applications to use different protocols; there is no backward-compatible way to retrofit this form of multihoming into TCP or UDP.

Comment: Re:IPv6 won't fix this problem (Score 1) 247

by JesseMcDonald (#47663363) Attached to: The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

Now, there might be fewer IPv6 prefixes at this time than IPv4, but intrinsically there's nothing about IPv6 that addresses the problem that all prefixes must have global visibility. ... To fix this kind of problem requires changing how routing is done.

IPv6 is intended to change how routing is done. The larger addresses make it easier to allocate prefixes hierarchically, as opposed to the smaller blocks which must be joined together for IPv4. For example, top-level prefixes could be naively assigned by combining 8 bits of latitude with 10 bits of longitude to create 256k /18s each covering approximately 800 square miles. Each /18 would have room to allocate each of up to ~1 billion customers a /48 prefix composed of 64k /64 subnets, each having 2**64 unique addresses. The resulting routing tables should be highly compressible; for example, there would probably be a single preferred route from a given location for all packets destined for a particular country or state. Only the closer destinations would need individual routes.

Comment: Re:Contract binding third parties (Score 1) 183

by JesseMcDonald (#47609095) Attached to: Hotel Charges Guests $500 For Bad Online Reviews

People agree to pay for things outside of their control all the time. Consider the contract you have with your auto insurance company, for example, in which they agree to pay in the event that you get into an accident. If you agree to the terms of your own free will, in the absence of fraud or duress, you should assume that they're binding, at least morally if not legally. The real problem would be if they were trying to fine the people posting negative reviews directly, when they weren't a party to the contract.

I see no reason why this contract shouldn't be considered binding—which is not to say that I think it's a good idea. I find it a bit surprising that they still have any customers after pulling a stunt like this, which was a clear sign of desperation in its own right. One doesn''t go to such lengths to suppress negative reviews unless one has something to hide.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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